Slipping Away: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including a surprise inside an ancient coffin in Egypt
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2016 5:24 AM CDT
Slipping Away: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
File photo of a an uninhabited island that is slipping beneath the sea in the Marshall Islands. A new study says five islands in Solomons chain already have done so.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)

Disappearing islands and a historic ax make the list:

  • 5 Pacific Islands Have Vanished: Five uninhabited reef islands in the Solomon Islands chain in the Pacific have vanished thanks to rising sea levels, say Australian researchers. The news for inhabited islands in the chain isn't so great, either.
  • Preserved Fetus Is Likely Egypt's Youngest Mummy: A tiny coffin believed for a century to be holding the organs of an ancient Egyptian actually contains what is likely the youngest mummy ever discovered. Inside is a fetus, believed to have been miscarried between 16 and 18 weeks—and seemingly destined for royalty had it survived.

  • This Is the World's Oldest Ax: Archaeologists in Australia have found a fragment of an ax far older than any other ever found, evidence that the continent's first Aboriginal people were considerably more sophisticated with toolmaking than they've been given credit for. The ax is more than 10,000 years older than the previous "oldest" one.
  • Meta Study Suggests Probiotics Are the Latest Snake Oil: Probiotics—the so-called "good bacteria" teeming naturally in foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut—comprise a booming industry. But a meta study out of Denmark suggests that those skeptical about the purported benefits have a point.
  • Ingenious Robot Retrieves Swallowed Batteries: The stat is remarkable: Every three hours in the US, a child swallows a battery and risks potentially lethal consequences. Now, however, a clever fix is in sight, thanks to a tiny robot, origami, and a hunt through Asian food markets.
Click to read about more discoveries. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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